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Preview: Neuropsychology - Vol 24, Iss 1

Neuropsychology - Vol 31, Iss 1



Neuropsychology focuses on (a) basic research, (b) the integration of basic and applied research, and (c) improved practice in the field of neuropsychology. The primary function of Neuropsychology is to publish original, empirical research on the relation



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Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association
 



What paint can tell us: A fractal analysis of neurological changes in seven artists.

2016-12-26

Objective: The notion that artistic capability increases with dementia is both novel and largely unsupported by available literature. Recent research has suggested an emergence of artistic capabilities to be a by-product of involuntary behaviour seen with dementia, as opposed to a progression in original thinking (de Souza, et al., 2010). A far more complementary explanation comes from Hannemann (2006), who suggests that art offers an outlet for dementia patients to refine and sharpen their cognitive abilities. As dementia severely impedes linguistic skills, non-verbal therapeutic methods such as painting can permit dementia patients to express themselves in a way not possible verbally. Fractal analysis has been used to determine the authenticity of major works of art. Taylor et al., (1999) found that through a fractal analysis of Jackson Pollock’s paintings it was possible to distinguish authentic works from a large collection of fakes, demonstrating that when artists paint they instill within their work their own pattern of unique fractal behaviour. Can age-indexed variations in the fractal dimension of the works of artists anticipate specific cognitive deteriorations? Method: To answer this question we analysed age-related variations in the fractal dimension of a large corpus of digital images (n = 2092) of work created by seven notable artists who experienced both normal ageing and neurodegenerative disorders. Results: The results of our analysis showed that patterns of change in the fractal dimension of the paintings differentiated artists who suffered neurological deterioration from those of normal aging controls. Conclusions: These findings are of importance for two reasons. Our work adds to studies that demonstrate that fractal analysis has the potential to determine the provenance of paintings. Secondly, our work suggests that may be possible to identify a-typical changes in the structure of an artist’s work; changes that may be early indicators of the onset of neurological deterioration. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Shared and unique influences on age-related cognitive change.

2016-11-03

Objective: Decompose cognitive change into influences unique to particular cognitive domains, and influences shared across different cognitive domains. Method: A total of 2,546 adults between 18 and 95 years of age performed a battery of 12 cognitive tests on 2 occasions separated by an average of 3 years. An estimate of general cognitive functioning based on the first principal factor was regressed from the observed cognitive scores to derive an estimate of specific influences on each measure, and this value was subtracted from the observed score to provide an estimate of general influences on the measure. Longitudinal change was assessed by the (T2 − T1) difference between scores on the 2 occasions. Results: Although increased age was associated with specific influences on speed in cross-sectional comparisons, and in memory change in longitudinal comparisons among older adults, most of the relations between age and cognitive functioning in both cross-sectional and longitudinal comparisons were manifested as general influences shared with other cognitive measures. Conclusions: Differences in cognitive functioning associated with aging are often attributed to domain-specific effects, but results from this and other recent studies suggest that large proportions of the age differences are associated with general influences shared across different types of cognitive measures. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



“The effectiveness and unique contribution of neuropsychological tests and the δ latent phenotype in the differential diagnosis of dementia in the uniform data set”: Correction to John et al. (2016).

2016-11-17

Reports an error in "The effectiveness and unique contribution of neuropsychological tests and the δ latent phenotype in the differential diagnosis of dementia in the uniform data set" by Samantha E. John, Ashita S. Gurnani, Cara Bussell, Jessica L. Saurman, Jason W. Griffin and Brandon E. Gavett (Neuropsychology, 2016[Nov], Vol 30[8], 946-960). In the article, the first sentence in the note to Table 6 should read “Odds ratios (OR) greater than 1 mean that better scores on a test are associated with greater odds of the first diagnosis shown in the Comparison column, whereas OR less than 1 mean that better scores on a test are associated with lower odds of the first diagnosis shown in that column.” Also, the first sentence in the note to Table 7 should read “Odds ratios (OR) greater than 1 mean that higher scores (less severe dementia) are associated with greater odds of the first diagnosis shown in the Comparison column, whereas OR less than 1 mean that higher scores (less severe dementia) are associated with lower odds of the first diagnosis shown in that column.” (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2016-51709-002.) Objective: Two main approaches to the interpretation of cognitive test performance have been utilized for the characterization of disease: evaluating shared variance across tests, as with measures of severity, and evaluating the unique variance across tests, as with pattern and error analysis. Both methods provide necessary information, but the unique contributions of each are rarely considered. This study compares the 2 approaches on their ability to differentially diagnose with accuracy, while controlling for the influence of other relevant demographic and risk variables. Method: Archival data requested from the NACC provided clinical diagnostic groups that were paired to 1 another through a genetic matching procedure. For each diagnostic pairing, 2 separate logistic regression models predicting clinical diagnosis were performed and compared on their predictive ability. The shared variance approach was represented through the latent phenotype δ, which served as the lone predictor in 1 set of models. The unique variance approach was represented through raw score values for the 12 neuropsychological test variables comprising δ, which served as the set of predictors in the second group of models. Results: Examining the unique patterns of neuropsychological test performance across a battery of tests was the superior method of differentiating between competing diagnoses, and it accounted for 16–30% of the variance in diagnostic decision making. Conclusion: Implications for clinical practice are discussed, including test selection and interpretation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Intraindividual variability and falls in older adults.

2016-11-10

Objective: We investigated whether a simple measure of reaction time (RT) intraindividual variability (IIV) was associated with falls in older adults. Falls and fall-related injuries represent a major cost to health care systems, it is therefore critically important to find measures that can readily identify older adults at greater risk of falling. Method: Cognitive and motor function were investigated in 108 adults aged 53 to 93 years (M = 73.49) recruited across the local community and hospital outpatient department. Forty-two participants had experienced either an injurious fall, or multiple falls, in the previous 2 years. Results: Logistic regression suggested that fallers could be distinguished from nonfallers by greater medication use, IIV, postural sway, weaker grip strength and slower gait speed. Structural equation models revealed that IIV was predictive of falls via the mediating variable of motor function (e.g., gait). IIV also predicted higher order cognition (executive function) but higher order cognitive function did not uniquely predict falls or account for the associations between IIV and falls. Conclusions: These findings indicate that IIV measures capture important aspects of cognitive and motor decline and may have considerable potential in identifying older adults at risk of falling in health care and community settings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Structural brain markers are differentially associated with neurocognitive profiles in socially marginalized people with multimorbid illness.

2016-09-19

Objective: The authors examined associations between complementary fronto-temporal structural brain measures (gyrification, cortical thickness) and neurocognitive profiles in a multimorbid, socially marginalized sample. Method: Participants were recruited from single-room occupancy hotels and a downtown community courthouse (N = 299) and grouped on multiple neurocognitive domains using cluster analysis. Subsequently, the authors evaluated whether the fronto-temporal brain indices, and proxy measures of neurodevelopment and acquired brain insult/risk exposure differentiated members of the 3 distinct neurocognitive clusters. Results: Greater frontal and temporal gyrification and more proxies of aberrant neurodevelopment were associated with the lowest functioning neurocognitive cluster (Cluster 3). Further, for older participants (50+ years), increased cortical thickness in frontal regions was associated with the higher functioning neurocognitive cluster (Cluster 1). Finally, the greatest acquired brain insult/risk exposure was associated with the cluster characterized by selective decision-making impairment (Cluster 2). Conclusions: Fronto-temporal structural brain indices, and proxies of neurodevelopment and acquired brain insult/risk exposure were differentially associated with neurocognitive profiles in socially marginalized persons. These findings highlight the unique pathways to neurocognitive impairment in a heterogeneous population and help to clarify the vulnerabilities confronted by different subgroups. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Cognitive processing speed mediates the effects of cardiovascular disease on executive functioning.

2016-11-14

Objective: The goal of this study was to examine the hypothesized mediating role of cognitive processing speed (CPS) in the relationship between cardiovascular disease (CVD) and executive functioning (EF). We investigated whether the processing-speed hypothesis in aging also explains the unique contribution that CPS may have to EF deficits in CVD patients. Method: A neuropsychological assessment, including multiple measures of CPS and EF, was administered to 21 older adults with a history of CVD and 73 older adults with no history of CVD. Structural equation models were used to measure the indirect associations between CVD and 6 EF task outcomes through a CPS factor. Competing indirect links were assessed using the product-of-coefficients (α*β) approach with bias-corrected bootstrap confidence intervals. Results: CVD was significantly, negatively related to CPS (β = −.239, 95% CI [−.457, −.021]). CPS was significantly, positively related to an EF composite score (β = .566, 95% CI [.368, .688]). CVD was significantly, negatively related to the EF composite score (β = −.137, 95% CI [–.084, −.211]). The indirect links from CVD to the individual measures of the EF composite score via CPS were all significant. CVD most adversely affected tasks of cognitive flexibility and inhibition indirectly through CPS. Conclusion: With the present study, we have demonstrated that the processing-speed hypothesis in aging extends to older adult patients with CVD. Reduced CPS significantly underlies the link between CVD status and poorer EF. Individuals with CVD demonstrated poorer CPS and EF than those without CVD, and CPS was specifically implicated as a CVD-related mechanism leading to worse EF. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Cognitive functioning in the first-episode of major depressive disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

2016-10-10

Objective: Cognitive deficits are frequently observed in major depression. Yet, when these deficits emerge and how they relate to the depressed state is unclear. The aim of this 2-part systematic review and meta-analysis is to determine the pattern and extent of cognitive deficits during a first-episode of depression (FED) and their persistence following FED remission. Method: Published, peer-reviewed articles on cognitive function in FED patients through October 2015 were searched. Meta-analyses with random-effects modeling were conducted. Part 1 assessed weighted, mean effect sizes of cognitive function in FED patients relative to healthy controls. Moderator analyses of clinical and demographical variables effects were conducted. Part 2 assessed weighted, mean effect sizes of change in cognitive function at remission compared with acute FED performance in longitudinal studies. Results: Thirty-one studies including 994 FED patients were retained in Part 1. Relative to healthy controls, small to large impairments were observed across most cognitive domains. Remission was associated with a normalization of function in processing speed, learning and memory, autobiographical memory, shifting, and IQ. Lower FED age was associated with higher IQ, but more impairment in word-list delayed memory. Four studies including 92 FED patients were retained in Part 2. Following remission, FED patients showed small improvements in processing speed and shifting but persistent impairment in inhibition and verbal fluency. Conclusion: Significant cognitive deficits are already identifiable during a FED, with some functions showing persistent impairment upon remission. Clinicians must consider cognitive impairment alongside mood symptoms to ensure functional recovery from the FED. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Dynamic functional connectivity in bipolar disorder is associated with executive function and processing speed: A preliminary study.

2016-10-24

Objective: Disturbances in functional connectivity have been suggested to contribute to cognitive and emotion processing deficits observed in bipolar disorder (BD). Functional connectivity between medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and other brain regions may be particularly abnormal. The goal of the present study was to characterize the temporal dynamics of the default mode network (DMN) connectivity in BD and examine its association with cognition. Method: In a preliminary study, euthymic BD (n = 15) and healthy comparison (HC, n = 19) participants underwent resting-state functional MRI, using high-resolution sequences adapted from the Human Connectome Project, and completed neuropsychological measures of processing speed and executive function. A seed-based approach was used to measure DMN correlations in each participant, with regions of interest in the mPFC, posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), and lateral parietal cortex. Subsequently, to characterize temporal dynamics, correlational analyses between the mPFC and other DMN nodes were repeated using a sliding-window correlational analysis with subsets of the time series. Results: When averaged across the entire scan, there were no group differences in overall connectivity strength between the mPFC and other regions of the DMN. However, dynamic connectivity between the mPFC and PCC was altered in BD, such that connectivity was less variable (i.e., more rigid) over time. Decreased connectivity variability was associated with slower processing speed and reduced cognitive set-shifting in BD patients. Conclusions: Variability in resting-state functional connectivity may be an index of internetwork flexibility that is reduced in BD and a correlate of ongoing cognitive impairment during periods of euthymia. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Neurocognitive predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in children 6 months after traumatic brain injury: A prospective study.

2016-09-12

Objective: Various neurocognitive mechanisms have been proposed to explain the development of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms. However, the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying comorbid PTSD following Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) have not been fully investigated, especially among children. This study prospectively examined the influence of theorized neurocognitive deficits at 3 months post pediatric TBI on the development of PTSD symptoms 6 months postinjury. Method: One hundred sixty-six children aged between 6 and 14 years were recruited after sustaining a TBI. Their demographic information and injury severity were assessed at 2 months postinjury, their neurocognitive outcomes in selective attention, sustained attention, verbal learning, working memory, and processing speed were assessed at 3 months postinjury, and PTSD symptoms were measured at 6 months postinjury. Results: Consistent with the Neurobiological Theory of PTSD, sustained attention deficits 3 months postinjury emerged as the key predictor for greater future PTSD severity at 6 months, especially following a mild TBI. However, contrary to the expectations of the Emotional Processing Theory and Dual Representation Theory, verbal learning and working memory deficits at 3 months postinjury protected children from the development of PTSD symptoms 6 months postinjury. Conclusions: PTSD involves a complex interplay between attention and memory functions post pediatric TBI. When trauma memory is relatively intact, difficulties disengaging from distractors contribute to the development of PTSD symptoms. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Sleep quality affects cognitive functioning in returning combat veterans beyond combat exposure, PTSD, and mild TBI history.

2016-10-03

Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine how sleep quality affects cognitive functioning in returning combat veterans after accounting for effects of combat exposure, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) history. Method: This was a cross-sectional assessment study evaluating combat exposure, PTSD, mTBI history, sleep quality, and neuropsychological functioning. One hundred and nine eligible male Iraq/Afghanistan combat veterans completed an assessment consisting of a structured clinical interview, neuropsychological battery, and self-report measures. Results: Using partial least squares structural equation modeling, combat experiences and mTBI history were not directly associated with sleep quality. PTSD was directly associated with sleep quality, which contributed to deficits in neuropsychological functioning independently of and in addition to combat experiences, PTSD, and mTBI history. Combat experiences and PTSD were differentially associated with motor speed. Conclusions: Sleep affected cognitive function independently of combat experiences, PTSD, and mTBI history. Sleep quality also contributed to cognitive deficits beyond effects of PTSD. An evaluation of sleep quality may be a useful point of clinical intervention in combat veterans with cognitive complaints. Improving sleep quality could alleviate cognitive complaints, improving veterans’ ability to engage in treatment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



A critical review of closing-in.

2016-07-21

When performing complex actions, like graphic copying or imitation of gestures, some patients may perform these actions very close to, or directly on the top of the model. This peculiar behavior, known as closing-in, is the focus of the present literature review, which will provide a critical picture of the research in this field, highlighting the difficulties in defining and assessing closing-in and the contrasting results about the nature and the characteristics of this phenomenon. Most importantly, we will discuss the 2 hypotheses proposed to explain closing-in, namely the compensation and the attraction account, in light of the most recent work. This critical review will provide substantial evidence that closing-in represent a primitive default tendency in which movements are attracted toward the focus of attention. On the other hand, the possibility that this interpretation might not be fully exhaustive and that different components of closing-in might exist will also be discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)